Prego! We’re Serving Up Brisbane’s Best Italian Restaurants

Meals to make you say “mamma mia”!


By Astrid Taemets and Melissa Myrteza | 9th June 2022

There’s inspiration aplenty in the birth country of our favourite comfort carbs, and Brissy restaurateurs have brought the boot down south. 

Honouring tradition with homemade pastas, innovative ingredients, and Nonna-worthy pizza bases, Brisbane is home to some of Australia’s best Italian restaurants. Whether you’re after contemporary fine-dining fare or family filled trattorias that haven’t changed in years (and never should!), Italian cuisine has perfected wholesome everyday eating.

So, dig in, and eat your way through the regions from the famous coastal plates of seafood spaghetti and rustic margarita pizzas, to traditional Florentine T-bones. 

Put your passport away and grab your pals, because this is your one-way ticket to the land of red wine, delicious carbs, and good times. Prego!

Did we miss someone from the list? Let us know here!

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Antica

Wilston

Any Brisbanite who fancies a slice is likely familiar with New Farm’s beloved Pizzantica, which now has a new home in Wilston. Antica Pizzeria is serving up the finest traditional southern style pizza around town, using an oven imported directly from Italy to satisfy our consistent cravings. The delightful menu of antipasti, cured meats, pastas, and a whole ‘lotta pizza is a crowd pleaser, keeping locals coming back for more. The casual atmosphere is the perfect host for impromptu date nights or long overdue catch ups, with gorgeous mosaics and a cosy ambience. Powered on family love and a passion for divine Italian food, their signature long pizza is a must try – one half tomato, burrata, and balsamic pearls; the other fig, honey, and goat’s cheese. Buon appetito!

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Biànca

Fortitude Valley

Masters of Italian eats, Biànca has been showered with well-deserved praise since its opening last year. A focus on honouring the classics with a nod to Aussie produce, slink into the suave James Street venue and indulge in house-made pasta and bread with Italian sourced wines to pair. Made to share, indulge your way down the antipasti menu with mouth-watering Kingfish carpaccio, Nduja (a soft, spicy salami), and artichoke and anchovy fritti before getting to the mains. From the metallic meat slicers at the bar to the open style kitchen, there’s thought out theatre behind every step. Go on, unbutton your jeans and order the pumpkin cappellacci with burnt butter (this may just be our last meal request) or the gnocchetti sardi with spanner crab, warrigal, chilli, and vermouth. This Italian trattoria has embraced restaurant-style practices in the perfect blend of casual dining with an effervescent atmosphere, and we simply can’t get enough!

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Rosmarino

Fortitude Valley

What began as an intimate wine bar has newly transformed into a full-scale restaurant with a whole lot of Italian love behind it. Rosmarino Ristorante is tucked off McLachlan Street in Fortitude Valley, bursting with character and personality aplenty. With a rustic outdoor courtyard filled with foliage, a wine cellar to be admired, and an interior of exposed brick and feature walls, this building is rich in history since 1898. Head Chef Dario Manca has transformed his obsession with bread, flavours and Italian eats into a menu bursting with à la carte picks and degustation delights. With specialties of pan rendered, seven-day aged Maremma duck breast, and black squid ink spaghetti with Cloudy Bay clams, lose yourself in this mastery of Italian cuisine.

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Sasso Italiano

Woolloongabba

Like a true Italian table, Woolloongabba’s Sasso Italiano connects people over good food. Inspired by the wonderful 70s with dim lights and an ambiance that’s hard to forget, this space blends nostalgia with the contemporary, creating the ultimate space of luxury and comfort. Head Chef Gabriele Di Landri’s Alamfi heritage helps him curate unforgettable meals in this open-plan kitchen with two seasonal menus featuring degustation’s or your choice of charcuterie, antipasti, primi, and secondi’s that wow. Their bespoke wood fired oven has a deck formed from Mount Vesuvius lava stone making for a delectable range of pizza. Did we mention this neighbourhood bar and trattoria has a 10+ Negroni menu and can fashion you a vintage birth-year concoction? Mangia, mangia!

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OTTO Ristorante

South Bank

Living la dolce vita is what OTTO Ristorante is about – celebrating people and place. Perched riverfront in South Bank surrounded by native flora and a widespread cityscape, the ristorante design is the perfect blend of modern Australia and Italian Riviera, and has become a big player in Queensland’s foodie scene. Head Chef Will Cowper’s talent paired with GM Alan Hunter’s award-winning wine list make for a dramatic duo that keeps us coming back for more. From perfectly al dente pasta to local seafood seared on the grill, the food is brazenly simple, driven by fresh fare. Take note: the carpaccio di manzo and rabbit gnocchi are not to be missed! 

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Il Verde

Bowen Hills

A King Street classic, Il Verde is our sustainable destination for modern Italian cuisine. With pizza bases flipping and Aperol Spritz pouring round the clock, there’s an undeniable King Street energy behind this venture. With a flair for inventive flavours mixed with traditional Italian techniques, unwind in the outdoor lounge or indoors amongst the rustic pizza oven and exposed brick walls. If quality servings with affordable prices are what you’re after, slurp up next-level spaghetti and savour each bite of your gnocchi al tartufo. Add a bottle of Chianti and tiramisu to share, and you’ve got yourself a quintessential Italian night out.

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La Costa

Fortitude Valley

Aperitivo is our fave way to while away the hours, and you can experience this Italian way of dining at Fortitude Valley’s La Costa Restaurant. Whether it’s a traditional spritz topped with an orange slice and Sicilian olives, a glass of Veneto Rosé, or a cocktail that packs a punch, a drink before eating is how the Italians do it – when in Rome! The latest venture from the Salt Meats Cheese group, La Costa is a tribute to coastal Italy with their seafoam-green, white décor, and European oak table tops. Celebrating the ocean first and foremost, they’ve got us looking to the sea with their ragü di Pesce and marinated seafood pizza. Followed closely by their range of local meats, cheeses and legumes, they’re well and truly paying homage to all things green, white, and red. Grab the gang and celebrate day or night, Riviera style.

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La Lupa

West End

If central Italy won your heart, this roman style Pizzeria is soon to be your new hangout. Serving up low-intervention natural wines from the cellar alongside handmade pasta and traditional dishes, they’re all about the ingredients with careful execution. With a strong belief that pizza shouldn’t leave you feeling bloated or thirsty, they’ve mastered the secret in the production of the dough with an organic stone milled flour sourced from Italy. With an intimate, considered menu, La Lupa will change the way you dine.   

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Coppa Spuntino

Brisbane City

Eagle Street Pier’s latest Italian hangout, COPPA Spuntino is home to corporate catch-ups during lunch hours and Brisbane foodie lovers come sundown. Head Chef Vinny has come over from their previous CBD venue doing what he does best – curating a menu to impress. With whispers of a Fraser Island spanner crab linguine that has made a name for itself and artichokes alla Romana that will transport you to the cobblestone streets of Rome, eat your way through your favourite classics on the airy terrace overlooking the river. For a slice of the Italian coast, sip a Campari cocktail and bask in this bright space filled with light, fresh furnishings on your next night out.  

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1889 Enoteca

Woolloongabba

Take a trip down memory lane to 1889 Enoteca – the Woolloongabba restaurant that’s been serving up sophisticated Roman fare for almost 14 years. Located in the heritage-listed Moreton Rubber Works building, the restaurant features cosy booths and wooden floors, evoking the feel of an old-school Roman villa. Despite its rustic appearance, patrons can expect a fine-dining experience that honours traditional Italian recipes and uses only the highest quality local and imported ingredients. Wine buffs are also in luck – ‘enoteca’ means wine library in Italian, and the restaurant certainly lives up to its namesake with an unbeatable wine menu of imported and regional varieties. Allora!

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Beccofino

Teneriffe

Can’t make it to Florence this year? Thanks to the food gods at Beccofino, you can enjoy the tastes of Italy minus the plane ticket. Known throughout Brisbane for its divine duck ragu that brings locals in by the flock, it’s also one of the must-do spots for authentic, woodfired pizza. This Teneriffe restaurant is the perfect place to kick back and while away the afternoon with a pizza rosse or bianche and glass of chilled rosé in-hand. Although the ragu and the pizza are the stars here, don’t neglect the antipasti flavours , and be sure to make room for an affogato!

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Gnocchi Gnocchi Brothers

Fortitude Valley. Paddington, South Bank

When it comes to feel-good Italian cuisine, you really can’t go past this iconic chain of restaurants. The name is pretty self-explanatory – Gnocchi Gnocchi Brothers make authentic, mouth-watering gnocchi that hits the spot each and every time. Co-founders Ben Cleary-Corradini and Theo Roduner started their business as a two-person stall selling hand-made gnocchi, and have since grown to incorporate three venues throughout Brisbane alone. Their pillowy-soft gnocchi and rich sauces made from the freshest local ingredients are famous for being some of the best in Brisbane, while affordable prices and BYO drinks keep diners flocking to Gnocchi Gnocchi Brothers’ doors.

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Il Posto

Paddington

Paddington is home to some of Brisbane’s best restaurants, and Il Posto is no exception. Located on Latrobe Terrace, patrons can enjoy a menu of home-style Italian dishes that showcase expert cooking and the highest quality ingredients. Our favourites? The ravioli aragosta (home-made ravioli filled with Tasmanian lobster – yum!) and verdurina (a delicious pizza with tomato, mozzarella, roast pumpkin, spinach and goat’s cheese). With a range of vegan, dairy-free, and gluten-free options on offer, there’s something for everyone at Il Posto, so book a table and get ready to be transported to the streets of Italy.

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Italian Street Kitchen

Newstead, West End

For food that satisfies your tastebuds and your soul, look no further than this restaurant chain, which serves up old-school Italian eats (just like Nonna used to make!). Combining traditional Italian recipes, modern cooking techniques and imported ingredients from Roma, Napoli, Sicilia and Venezia, Italian Street Kitchen is your one-stop shop for wood-fired pizza, fresh pasta dishes, and vibrant salads. With $15 lunch specials on offer every weekday, head on over and treat yourself to an Italian meal that you’re sure to love.

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Julius Pizzeria

South Brisbane

From the masterminds behind Beccofino comes Julius Pizzeria, the ‘little brother’ venue located on the corner of South Brisbane’s vivacious Fish Lane. Serving up wood-fired pizzas made in a custom-built oven brought all the way from Naples, antipasto, delectable pasta, and thirst-quenching drinks, Julius Pizzeria celebrates authentic Italian cuisine with a modern Australian twist. Conveniently located close to QPAC, this dining hotspot is the perfect place to relax and unwind before an evening of theatre. Don’t pass up a slice of the classic tartufo bianche topped with mozzarella, smoked bacon, Portobello mushrooms, stracchino, and truffle paste.

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Marinara Trattoria

Clayfield, Hawthorne, Paddington

Rustic Italian dining is held true to tradition at Marinara Trattoria. With brick walls, red chequered tablecloths, striking statues, and climbing vines, the intimate restaurant is reminiscent of Nonna’s kitchen, complete with murals of the Italian seaside. The menu combines staple starters like traditional breads and seafood morsels, followed by a range of pasta and pizza worthy of every calorie. Nestled in the heart of Paddington, Clayfield, and Hawthorne, Marinara Trattoria is ideal for a romantic evening with your S.O., or casual dining with friends and family. 

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Pasta Club

West End

Brisbane’s foodie experts were devastated when CJ’s Secret Pasta Club – the intimate West End eatery that provided locals with good, simple Italian fare – closed its doors due to COVID-19. What they might not know is that the restaurant was reborn as the new and improved Pasta Club. Located on Boundary Street, Pasta Club is back and serving up good times and delicious Italian food (did someone say truffled-mushroom arancini and pumpkin agnolotti?). As a BYO venue, diners are encouraged to bring a bottle of their favourite red, vibe to the record player, and let the menu written on the blackboard do the talking.

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Ripiena

Fortitude Valley

Your carb-loaded dreams will come true at Ripiena, Fortitude Valley’s very own pasta laboratory. Head Chef Nicolo Campagnari began his love affair with Italian food as a boy working at his family’s tavern in Verona, before moving to Australia and opening Ripiena with his wife in 2018. The venue combines a wholesale pasta kitchen and dine-in section, where patrons can enjoy batches of freshly made pasta, prepared in-house by a team of specially trained pasta chefs. Mixing, kneading, sheeting, folding, drying, storing ­– everything you eat is authentic, keeping to tradition with provincial Italian pasta. Embrace a carb overload meal and pick up 100g of Brisbane’s best prosciutto to-go! 

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Tartufo

Fortitude Valley

Since opening its doors in 2010, this Italian dining spot has made its mark on Brisbane’s foodie scene. Located in the hub of Fortitude Valley, Tartufo transports diners to the 1920s with their décor: leather booths, tiled floors, and art-deco detailing create an alluring space where diners can enjoy exquisite Italian cuisine and old-fashioned hospitality. From an indulgent eight-course degustazione to a true Neapolitan pizza, these ingredients have either been made in-house, carefully sourced, or grown with local producers especially for Tartufo. Psst, you can even find a few of owner Tony Percuoco’s secret recipes on their website to try at home!

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Tocco Italian

Chelmer, Teneriffe

Dreaming of Amalfi’s colourful coastline, turquoise water, and scrumptious eats? If so, it might be time to book in at Tocco Italiano, where owner Arturo Buonocore celebrates the legacy of Italy’s Campania region with an authentic, mouth-watering menu. Buonocore is a fourth-generation Amalfi Coast local who followed his wife to Australia and brought the flavours of Italy with him. With an impressive menu that offers traditional recipes from his home including Caprese salad, bruschetta, gnocchi alla sorrentina and profiteroles, Tocco Italiano is a dream come true for pizza aficionados seeking an Italian fine-dining experience.

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Mina Restaurant and Bar

Bulimba

Look out, there’s a new Italian in town! Opening its doors this month, Mina brings the beauty and drama of Italia to our humble riverfront, with plenty of dishes rich in flavour and artisanal flair. From the team behind Lina Rooftop and Eterna, this casual eatery will have you feasting on Venetian cicchetti snacks, risottos, and handmade pizzas at the prime location just off the Bulimba jetty. Just like Venice, right?

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Gemelli

Broadbeach, Fortitude Valley

Craving a Euro summer escape to the Italian seaside? Bringing you hearty flavours, woodfired pizzas, pastas, and antipasti plates a plenty, Gemelli is the Italian escape your mindset needed. With their flagship location in Broadbeach, the Gemelli brothers have brought their success to Bris, with a stunning fitout marked by modern interiors taking up residence on James Street’s bustling strip. Literally translating to ‘twins’ Gemelli is owned by two brothers with an appreciation for good food and how to cook it, right down to the sauce. Lap up the good life, the mouth-watering tastes, and buttery wines with loved ones, and enjoy la dolce far niente!

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Persone

Brisbane City

For a satisfying meal with a view, Persone delivers the goods. Located in the Brisbane Quarter, this refined Italian bar and dining scene is a place to live la dolce vita. Serving up fresh, quality produce packed with flavours, choose from their a la carte or banquet menu (and don’t forget to leave room for dessert!). Sip back and enjoy the sweeping sights of the river and South Bank while sipping on some of Italy’s finest drops. Oh, it’s a good life!

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Toscano Bar & Kitchen

Brisbane City

For authentic Italian served with flair, take yourself on a trip to Toscano, where the atmosphere is equally as delightful as the food. Located in the basement of a century-old warehouse near the City Botanic Gardens, this modern Italian cocktail bar exudes an elegant ambience with its glowing neon signage proclaiming, ‘good food, good wine, good friends, good times’, all while slinging traditional and modern cocktails across its mosaic tiled back-lit bar. Not a cocktail fan? Take your pick from their premium wine selection. Plating up Neoplitan-inspired dishes, expect entrees like potato croquettes with Scamorza cheese, cured meat, and honey mustard. For the main affair, say ciao to plates of Nonna’s meatballs or a Wagyu bresaola with rocket and shaved Parmesan panuozzo. Come hungry, leave 100% satisfied.

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Mosconi

Fortitude Valley

You could be forgiven for thinking you’d found yourself in the streets of Rome when you book a table at Mosconi. This hidden two-level wine bar and restaurant will cure those hunger and travel pangs all at once. With a small handful of tables placed on the footpath outside, it’s a romantic place to stop for a wine and bite. With small plates of mixed olives, Pacific oysters with lime caviar, and scallops, to heartier meals like the linguini with Mooloolaba prawn, fermented chilli, zucchini, and lemon pangrattato, say ‘salute’ to a meal to remember.

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Ciao Papi

Brisbane City

Bringing beautiful fresh Italian flavours fused with Australian produce, Ciao Papi is a tidy menu of dishes to share while perched right on the riverside with an Aperol in hand. From carb-heavy hitters like rigatoni with ragu to gnocchi and herb pesto, plus sides featuring warm weather salads, fries, and steamed greens, plus pizzas, all your Italian wants and needs will be met here. But don’t rush this experience  –  the desserts must be met with a big spoon, and their list of refreshing cocktails will keep you there til after dark.

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LAVA Ristorante

Teneriffe

A tribute to those who thrive and harvest produce in the harsh conditions of Linguaglossa, a small town in Sicily built on the black earth of past eruptions from Mount Etna volcano, LAVA creates heartwarming cuisines in a chic, converted factory on a Teneriffe street corner. Combining the renowned cuisine from the region with the warmth of its people, this convivial dining experience is one-of-a-kind in Brisbane, and has to be experienced to fully understand its point of difference. On the menu you’ll find traditional Sicilian dishes – from their in-house made pasta offerings to the meatier mains and must-have panna cotta, a reservation at LAVA will change the way you view Italian food for the better.

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Marinara Trattoria

Paddington

For no-fuss Italian without the frills, Marinara Trattoria is the authentic ‘just like Nonna’s house’ experience. A Brisbane institution, this old worker’s cottage turned cosy, rustic Italian trattoria offers a series of charming spaces to huddle together in and eat plate after delicious plate of heartwarmingly good Italian food. With traditional red gingham table cloths and candles adorning every table, it’s the little escape you need to take – pronto – if you haven’t already.

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